Here’s Your Beef Pizza


Please read these as well:-

Pizza

(BF on the pizza list does not mean chicken, I am very sure of it but the staff insisted it is chicken. It may not look like much but add the service and the tax and soon to be GST, eating out may not be a cheap thing. Having the restaurant mixing your order is just rubbing the salt on your wounds)

Dear, that looks like beef, my wife told me as the waiter placed the pizza on the table…

Ever since I came back from overseas, my kids have been asking for an eat out for a pizza and we have been busy with other things. Then yesterday, I decided to take a day off – not because I had something urgent to do but rather I have enough leave allowance left which I know will go to waste in the coming months when I off to another work assignment. I woke up late in time for my son to be back from school. We had decided to have our lunch outside and waited for my son to take his shower. It was a while since he went to take his shower so I walked to his room, thinking that he is probably busy with his homework (he usually do) but instead he was fast asleep (he was doing his homework till late last night). Deciding not to wake him up, my wife decided to cook something simple (there was some idlis leftover from the morning breakfast as well) and decided to have dinner outside instead.

Having set the plan for the evening and had nothing to do for the rest of the afternoon, I stroll to the bedroom and played game on my phone. The next thing I remembered was my daughter waking me up – she wanted to go to the pizza place. I looked at the time and it was almost 7.30 pm. I must have dozed off halfway playing game on the phone. Now we were kind of late, no thanks to me. I had planned to go before 6 pm. There was still time I told myself. Besides my son only then woke up and sleepily walked into my room and continued his sleep on my bed. I wish I could have done the same thing but by now, my wife joined my daughter in waking me up. Since I usually spend more than time than the rest in the bathroom, I am often pushed to be the first to take my shower. The rest of them will take shower after me – it was nothing but an excuse as there was 2 other bathrooms that they can use.

We decided to go to Aeon Equine Park as my son wanted to buy new books for his revisions and I know there is a small Popular book store there. It was a working day, so driving to IOI Mall or Sunway Pyramid would be a nightmare at this time. The bottleneck there is unbelievable. By the time we reached the place, there was plenty of parking lots for us to pick. So was the seats at the Pizza Hut – we decided to have our dinner first and spend the rest of the time at Popular. Aeon usually closes at about 10 pm on weekdays. So we had to about 2 hours left which was more than enough.

Now talking about eating pizza, it has never been our first choice when it comes to us eating out. If given the option, sushi would be our first choice but then having too much of “raw food” is not a good thing either. But today we are determined to have our pizzas. We walked to an almost empty Pizza Hut and picked out seats. There is another Pizza restaurant in the same place but somehow we feel that Pizza Hut pizzas had better taste. We decided to order a personal pizza first for the kids this time – we were struggling to eat the pizza in the past when we ordered the 2 regular pizzas. After all given the lack of crowd at that moment, we could always order another pizza any time. We opted for chicken “based” pizza instead of our usual seafood “based” as my son sometimes gets rashes after taking seafood. We also opted for more side dishes this time – for a change.

One thing that I noticed is that the waiter did not repeat my orders, something that was odd considering that the franchisee is an international brand. The personal pizza that was served hot disappeared in seconds as soon it was served. The kids were hungry, so was my wife and soon even the side dishes was eaten up too. It was time to add more orders – another pizza. My son took the menu and whilst still munching food in his mouth, started to pick the second pizza – another chicken “based” pizza. Once again, the waiter did not repeat my orders.

It did not take long before the waiter to bring over the plate of pizza. The meat topping on the pizza looked somehow strange – it looked darker and overcooked. I gathered that it must be the way they prepared this pizza but my wife was quicker. She immediately noticed that it was beef topping instead of chicken on the pizza. My son was about to put the pizza in his mouth but stopped immediately once my wife mentioned “beef”. I checked further and it was indeed beef topping on the pizza. To our surprise, another waiter brought us another pizza and it seemed to the correct pizza – the meat topping was definitely chicken but when he saw the pizza on the table, he got confused and so was us. Someone had definitely made a mistake.

I asked the waiter to confirm which is one is our real order (just in case we made a mistake) and there was more confusion as the waiters talked to themselves and double checked the order. To my dismay, the first waiter insisted that the beef topping pizza was INDEED chicken pizza. I looked at her and she must have read my mind and quietly walked away. Then another guy came over, apologized and took away the beef pizza. He then brought over the correct pizza but by now, the damage is done. My son had lost his appetite for pizza (I know he was still hungry) and my wife had lost interest. I ended up finishing most of the pizza myself.

We decided to leave and forget this small mishap for the time being. I waited at the counter to pay the bill and once again, I got another apology from the lady behind the counter. But a surprise was waiting us. The bill included the wrongly delivered beef pizza. There was another customer at the counter, so I waited patiently for another battle on wrong orders. I explained to the lady that the beef pizza was wrongly delivered to us and thus should not be charged to us. In fact I wanted to say that Hindus don’t eat beef but one look at the lady behind counter seems to tell that she lacks this basic knowledge.

And this is not the first time, some people had assumed that non-halal in this country only means one thing – pork to the Muslims. And forgetting that non-halal also means beef to the Hindus and the Buddhists. Another round of discussions and checking with rest of the waiters (I thought they have settled this issue earlier). Good thing for the restaurant and the staff – I was somehow kept my cool and just want to settle the issue. The manager finally showed his face and went over to the counter and re-do the bill. He returned the extra amount but rather hesitantly, as if we made the mistake and not his staff. Better than nothing although I was still at the losing end if consider the service tax and govt tax (short changed about RM1++, ha ha).

Good day out for dinner however ruined for the day but somehow the staff apologizing for the small mistakes soften the damage. Interesting change indeed.

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Off to a Funeral


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(No matter what, Malaysia remains where my heart and soul lies at the end of the day. And nothing kicks starts the notion than flying on the national carrier whilst having hot delicious nasi lemak for company)

Somehow it was great to fly back on MAS – for a couple of things.

One, it was good to hear safety announcements in Bahasa Malaysia again. Two, they served nasi lemak for lunch which was a sure sign that we are heading back home. And one of the first things that I did once I am back home was to catch up on my sleep. I could not help it – I even doze off whilst I was having conversations. Having a weekend and then thereafter the CNY holidays was just perfect to catch up on a break.

So I thought…

I was made “aware” of a distinct relative who was admitted to hospital in a serious condition. And last weekend, the dreadful news came. The relative had passed away. Being a distinct relative, there was always an option for me to simply opt out from going for the funeral. Further, the funeral was taking place in Johore – a place that was considered “quite far away” to drive (although it was almost the same distance and time to drive up North). The one that nails the urge for not going is that the funeral was taking place on a Sunday (I was working on Monday)

But there was 3 reasons that was prompted me to attend this funeral. First, despite it being a funeral of a distinct relative but he was somehow linked with other relatives who are closer to me. And there will be questions raised in the next family gathering. I had some obligations to them. Second, my father in law who is staying up in Taiping is taking the bus (yes the bus – we did not know, otherwise we would have picked him up half way) all the way to Johore for the same funeral. If he can take the bus and travel for 8-9 hours, then what’s stopping us with cars half way through from attending the same funeral, right? And third, the deceased had the same (well, almost) age as me (and brother in laws). Somehow, that made me to decided to go for the funeral.

It was time for planning for the one day trip to South and it was similar to the trip to the East Coast but with a small difference. We going to use my car as I am going to do most of the driving. It was a good opportunity to test the new tires. And to ensure it is going to be a fast drive down South and back, we decided to leave the ladies & kids at home (we already anticipating massive traffic jam on the way back, so it is best to leave the ladies and the children at home). In the car, would be me and 2 of my brother in laws (one is the substitute driver and another is our navigator – he had been to the house once)

The plan was finalised on Saturday evening (it took some time on the phone with various parties to finalise who was going and who was staying). My brother in law would pick up his wife and his daughter and another of the brother in law in the morning and meet me at my house. He would leave his car and drop his wife & daughter at my house (my wife and my kids will be around to keep them company).

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(The trip down South – frankly the time and distance was similar to the trip up North but somehow it was less tiring. Perhaps it was because it has been almost 15 years since I made the trip to South)

We suppose to leave from my house (since it is nearer to the South compared to our 2 houses) at 5 am. I woke up at 4 am and by 4.45 am was all ready for the trip. I had even double checked the car and parked it outside the porch so that my brother in law can park his car easily. I also set the GPS coordinates and locked in the destination. At 5 am, he was no where to be seen. He finally showed up at almost 5.30 am – it was still good as my deadline remained 6 am (assuming we have a 4 hours to drive). The three guys finally left at about 5.45 am.

The journey to Johore was rather a pleasant one and surprisingly is not tiring compared to the trip up North. I hardly fell asleep along the way despite waking up earlier than usual. My new tires, Michelin XM2 was holding well and was quiet all the way. I had checked the route before hand (thanks, Google Map) and had decided to only use the GPS once we had reached the exit of the highway. No speeding on the highway and I maintain to the left lanes whenever possible. We made 1 pit stop at Pagoh for breakfast (a sorry looking nasi lemak with un-reasonable price was waiting for us). Quick breakfast and we were back on the highway and there was still more than 100 km to go before we reach the deceased’s house. Traffic was still sparse and it remained a smooth drive. It took us less than 4 hours including pit stop.

Using GPS is a must when venturing into an unfamiliar place and it was the case here too when we reached the house without getting lost. An uncle of mine who was not using GPS, got lost 4 times in the same area before finally finding the house. Fearing that there will be a big crowd later, we parked the car on the main road, some distance from the house but where I can still see the car from the house. We noticed a large tent outside the house which affirmed that we are at the right place. No familiar faces at the tent in front of the house, so we walked into the house. The coffin was in the middle of the house, surrounded by grieving family members. We said our condolences and prayers and headed back to the tent outside the house. The smell of chemicals inside the house was overwhelming and I started to feel dizzy.

Sitting under the tent outside the house with my brother in law (my father in law joined us soon after – he was tired after an almost 9 hours of traveling by bus) and with a fresh breeze, my head started to get clearer. Not many people have arrived despite the scheduled time for the deceased body was suppose to be taken to the crematorium. It suppose to be at 10 am but soon 10.30 am and 11 am had passed and soon it was showing 11.30 am. I looked at my brother in law and he looked at me – we suppose to leave at 11.30 am if we are going to make it home early. My brother in law went and talked to one of the relatives on the “status” – apparently there were some delay and we have to wait at least another 2 hours for the final ceremony (it actually took longer than that). I don’t blame them – no one prepares for a funeral upfront.

Wait for another 2 hours?

Well, that was our cue to take a “walk” to our car and head back home. Since there was a funeral, there were no “good-byes” and “see you later”. We quietly walked to my car – good thing it was parked far away and near to the house, otherwise our “early” departure would have been very noticeable.

traffic

(When things slows down on the highway, just make sure the car has enough petrol and the bladder empty. It was good that the traffic was moving despite the heavy traffic)

We had to head back to the highway, so GPS came in handy again. But before we do that, a short pit stop for fuel and use of bathroom was necessary. As I drove out, I misjudged a junction and took the wrong road. Thankfully the GPS was quick to recompute the route and in fact came out with a route with less traffic (so we could “fly” towards the highway). Soon, we found the toll plaza but it was not the NS toll booth (we mistakenly thought it was the NS toll). It was actually the 2nd Link Expressway. There was no lane for cash but instead all need Touch N Go for access. The problem was I left my TNG card at home and my brother in law did not have one either. Cars started to pill up behind us and when I thought we had a big problem at hand, I remember I had the Tesco loyalty card in my wallet and that came with TNG feature. It even had enough credit for the toll. We were saved!!

It was not long before we reached the actual NS highway and initially the traffic flow was good. We managed to clock 110 km/h most of the route. But once reached Negri Sembilan, the traffic started to crawl. R&R was packed full with cars as well. We made our pit stop at Ayer Keroh for fuel and a very late lunch. We could not find a parking spot but at further up front, we managed to find a spot and had an excellent nasi lemak with a good portion of chicken. There was long queue at the petrol station as well. Then it was back to the crawl on the highway. We finally reached home almost at 8 pm and despite being stuck with traffic jam most of the way (no thanks to road works and a couple of broke down express buses).

Despite I drove to and fro such a distance, all in one day, surprisingly I was not feeling that tired or sleepy. And after the late evening shower, I was still feeling fresh to drive to restaurant near the house for dinner.

Childhood Memories – Part 26


Read the whole series here

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(No Deepavali is ever complete without the crunchy murukus – I am sure everyone agrees on that. Photo taken on Deepavali last year)

Certainly Deepavali was not like how it used to be back those days, some how some things have changed, don’t you think so? Perhaps it is because we have grown up and life has gotten slightly more complicated or perhaps large family gathering getting out of fashion these days, I don’t know.

Back then, the tasks for Deepavali celebrations actually starts couple days (sometimes weeks) before the actual date. Two things happen before we celebrate Deepavali – the making of Deepavali cookies (the usual “culprits” are there – achi-muruku, muruku, butter biscuits, etc) and shopping for new clothes. The making of Deepavali cookies was done on a “gotong-royong” basis with a number of neighbors (or my aunties if we had gone to my grandma’s house couple days earlier) and all the kids pitching in. All share the cost of purchasing the raw materials and the hard work of mixing the flour, the ghee, the sugar, the eggs and finally the cooking. As kids however, it was not hard work but rather it was a fun thing to do especially when my Mom passes some of the work to press the murukku to us and we try to outdo each other with the best shape that we can do without breaking the pressing (although excitement runs out fast and we all soon will get bored to help out).

Shopping for new clothes however had to wait until the last minute when my Dad gets his pay (sometimes with some extra festive pay from his Boss). If the pay is good (provided my Dad did not take too many medical leave for the month), we can look forward to more than 1 pair of new clothes but if it is not, we were more than happy to have just one new T-shirt (and all others recycled from previous years). No matter what, our parents made sure we had something new to wear on Deepavali although they often do not buy new clothes for themselves. We would then rush to the one place we can expect to buy new clothes dirt cheap – Petaling Street (back then, we did not have pasar-malam or hypermarkets near our place)

The night before Deepavali

This is far more important than the morning of Deepavali itself – for one reason only – the prayers to my late grandfather and my youngest uncle (both from my mother’s side) who had passed away when I was still small. We usually do a quick prayers for my grandfather and grandmother (from my father side) couple of hours before we take the bus all the way to Serdang (change bus half way in Puduraya) and to my grandma’s house where my grandma and my aunties had already prepared for the prayers – the hall has been half cleaned, the chicken & the glorious dishes have been cooked and the altar has been readied.

We would arrive at my Grandma’s house hungry and tired but very excited. We would place our new clothes at the altar and head for a quick shower (my grandma would insist on it). Then the prayers starts with all at the front of the altar and taking turn to do our own prayers asking for blessing and hope for a better year ahead. Once that is done, we would have our dinner and it will be one of the best dinners we will have for the year with chicken, mutton, prawns and more. But that is not the end of the activities for the day – the house would still be in a mess so after dinner, we will start with even more cleaning and decorating of the house. Whilst the ladies get themselves busy with the usual cleaning, changing of the curtains & sofa cover and making more murukus & preparing for breakfast in the kitchen, one of my aunties would started “drafting” kolam using chalk at the main entrance (she kept a scrap book full of various designs). Once done, I would be assigned to paint the kolam with white paint as my cousins would be busy with other cleaning tasks.

It would be quite late before we go to our beds. Even so, as we are sound asleep, my aunties, my mom and my grandma would be still be awake, doing last minute cleaning and cooking. We have no idea what time they actually go to sleep but one thing we are sure of – they are first to be up before us next morning.

The morning on Deepavali

We would be fast asleep when we would be “rudely” awakened early in the morning. No thanks to the late bedtime the night before (or early morning), we would be struggling to even open our eyes. My mom on the other hand would be the next person standing by our bed and making sure we march off to the bathroom for our morning shower. And she expects us to do it without further delays as we need to do the morning prayers before breakfast can be served and they need to serve breakfast early for my uncles and my Dad. So there was no excuse for late prayers (it some how changed a couple of years later where we were allowed to wake up late). Perhaps due to my Mom’s persistence or the prayers songs in the background, we would somehow forced ourselves off the bed and stand up but with our eyes still closed. My grandma would come over and rub the oil on our head and leave us alone to catch up on bit more sleep whilst waiting for the bathroom to be free (being at the grandma’s house means the kids gets VVIP treatment – hot water all readied by the time we are ready for our morning bath).

Breakfast was simple – hot thosai with spicy chicken curry but that is the beauty of it. Simple but heavenly delicious and there is no end of hot thosai served on our plates. We were made sure that we had a very hearty breakfast before we don the new Deepavali clothes – all waiting for us at the altar from last night.

The rest of the day on Deepavali

The activities for the rest of the day on Deepavali are usually divided into 2. First, to entertain my uncle’s guests who will visit him without fail every year – kids had to make sure that the drinks (soft drinks and beers) are replenished on time. And my uncle usually have 10 – 15 guests coming in all at the same time, so imagine the chaos the living hall would be. And they usually come for lunch, so my aunties, my Mom and my grandma would be very busy as well in the kitchen. We kids need not be around all the time – our “services” is usually needed at the start of this activity. Once done, we would be busy with the second activity for the day – playing (and more importantly experimenting) with firecrackers. We usually start playing the usual way of playing firecrackers but boredom would soon get better of us. We would “open” up the firecrackers and use the powder to blow up things at the garden including ants colony (ya, we were Ants Bully too once)

Soon after lunch and after my uncle’s guests had left, it would be time for other guests to come over. It is also time for the ladies in the house to get a break from all that cleaning and cooking. It was also time to watch the Deepavali special on the television (another round would at night – still remember Dunhill Blockbuster those days?). It is also time for us kids to visit the neighbors. No afternoon nap on the first day of Deepavali – it is either watching TV or munching up the murukus or playing firecrackers.

The night on Deepavali

Another round of good delicious food to be savored on Deepavali night as we would get another stream of guests at night – mostly from aunties’ side. We would soon get busy watching another “blockbuster” movie (the same movie that we had seen on pirated VCDs but just clearer version this time around). But soon, we would get bored again and it was time for another experiment with the firecrackers. However, we had to do that at the side of the house, away from the front where my Dad and my uncles are having their drinking session and their long chat. It is one of the rare moments when you can get everyone at one place and enjoying themselves. One or two experiment gone wrong from the side of the house (it usually do but without anyone getting hurt) would be enough the disrupt the drinking session at the front and sends one of my uncles to come over to check and see what the kids are doing – a quick reminder on safety and we are let off to continue. By now, the tiredness for past 2 days of preparation and waking up in the morning would have started to settle in. Nonetheless, it would be late before we go off to sleep, waking very late the next day. Things are so different these days.

And before we go off on holidays and get high on murukus & beers, I leave you with this quotable quote (good one, Durai) to ponder through during the holidays:-

“PM even announced that the cut in sugar subsidy would actually help to improve our sex life; which is important because the government needs to fuck us all the time”

Indian Wedding Part 5


Read these first:-

Another wedding, another story…

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(The garlands that me and my son went to pick up for the wedding – we had to walk a bit far to a small stall by the road side and the man behind the “counter” asked why we were late and we went like ‘huh?’. He pointed to a box next to the stall – it was all sealed up and it was cold. We walked back fast, hoping the ice cubes in the box have not melt away before the wedding starts)

This time, it was my sister-in-law’s wedding and by right I should not been around for the wedding. I suppose to be away on an overseas assignment and I suppose to be back only after the wedding had long ended. Since it was a “crucial” wedding (after all it was my wife’s younger sister wedding) and I won’t be around, I decided to offer to do something else – a drive to Taiping the next day for the bride & bridegroom (the wedding is in KL but they must be “back” to Taiping as the girl’s house is in Taiping and tradition dictates the newly weds to be in the bride’s house for at least 3 days after the wedding). But then at the very last minute, my trip got postponed and suddenly I was available for the wedding.

With that premise, let’s start the story.

The event started as usual, the night before the wedding where last minute ceremonies had to be done before it was all “green-light” for the wedding the next morning. I had to work, it was left to my wife to do the necessary last minute shopping and attend the said ceremony at another sister’s house. I came back home late after work and had a slow hot shower – a small break before the big day. My wife was not back from the ceremony early so I watched TV waiting for her to be back. The plan was for her to be back home from her sister’s house (not the one who is getting married) and we would make our way to another sister’s house (once again, not the one who is getting married) since it is nearer to the wedding hall. My understanding was that we would sleep the night over at the sister’s rather “empty” house and get ready early in the morning for the wedding. On the way, we would pick up one of our aunties along for the wedding.

When we arrived at the sister’s house, it was chaos all around – a bulk of our relatives had also decided to make the house as the starting point for the wedding next day. All the bedrooms was fully occupied with tired, sleepy relatives, the hall was loud with some of our uncles busy with the football match on the TV and to make things worse, hyperactive kids running around playing “catching” just when the clock on the wall turned midnight. I did not need the “spidey sense” to know that to continue to be around in the house just before a major event would be a disaster. After a quick check with my wife, I decided to drive back home for a quiet house for a proper sleep. My wife had to “work” on the preparation and my son seeing his uncles and his cousins, decided to stay back.

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(One of my brother-in-law who had to step in as the bridegroom’s best man, well he had no choice – he looked cool all the way but when it comes to the time when he had to get the ring from the bridegroom, his hand was shaking on a Richter scale of 8. The bridegroom had to hold down his fingers to put on the ring)

The wedding starts at about 9 am the next day but since I had to pick up my wife and my son (and I am very sure, a couple of my aunties and uncles would tag along too), my day actually started at 3.30 am. I woke up, had a quick shower and by 5 am I was already at the sister’s house where everyone was fast asleep. It took some shouting and pushing to get everyone up and get ready for the bathrooms and time was ticking away. Then a funny happened – almost everyone was up and ready to go to the wedding hall (although the queue outside the bathroom took some time to be sorted out) but no one wanted to make the actual move to leave the house. 2 cars (with its drivers – one included me) was all up and ready to go but the passengers were missing. They were still lingering around, asking who want to go first but not moving themselves.

After a moment of “finger-pointing” and the clock ticking away, a decision was made on who will go first – my car was the first to leave the house to the wedding hall – me, my son and all 3 of my aunties leaving my wife and the rest still in the house packing things up. Despite the short trip and it is being a well-known route, I missed the route and had to make a U-turn but we still arrived earlier than anyone else. After a quick unload of the aunties who soon got themselves busy with the items for the wedding, me and my son went off to get the wedding garlands. Once we had done that, we had nothing else to do except to wait for rest of the guests. The transportation of the bride from the house to the make-up studio and then to the wedding hall was taken care by another cousin of mine. My brother-in-law handled other things for the day including ensuring the caterers arrive on time.

Sitting at the front, I took out my DSLR and was toying with the settings when my son asked for my phone – he too wanted to take some photos (and play some games whilst he waited). I thought about it and decided to pass on my DSLR to my son instead. I stood next to him guiding him (initially) on what to take and when and more importantly to do without being in the way of the official professional photographer and videographer. My son had some limited experience with my DSLR before in another event, so he knew how to hold the camera (the first thing I taught him as my wife was worried that he may accidentally drop it), how to work the auto-focus (although he need a lot of practice get the angles right) and lens functions (setting it to auto was helpful too).

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(This shot was taken by my son – he had to make way for the professional photographer but this was an interesting angle nonetheless. A nice touch of colours especially purple – a shot that I probably would not have taken. It will be interesting to see what else my son will take from his point of sight as he get used to my DSLR and be the next family photographer in coming events)

When most of the guests made it to the wedding hall in time, the wedding ceremony well on-the-way without any hassle and my son at the stage busy snapping photos, I decided to head back to the main entrance in case we had any last minute guests coming in when another brother-in-law walked over looking rather concerned and asked me if I were busy. When I said no, he smiled and he just wanted to know because he thought two of us could take a break from the wedding and have teh-tarik at the nearby restaurant. After all those work in the morning (couple of months for my brother in law), it all came to a closure in the morning. We made it back in time for the bridegroom to tie the “sacred” string and my son starting to get tired and hungry. Lunch was really good despite it was all vegetarian and surprisingly we need not queue for the food (the crowd was not that mean too).

Wedding was officially over by 12 pm but it was not the end of the day – we still had plenty of things to do. We all went back to the house (it took another round of pushing people to leave the wedding hall) before the newly-weds arrive in the house. A bit more of ceremony to be done at the house before the newly-weds can be “safely parcelled off” for the day and all of us can take a break. The house was still in a “chaos” with relatives and well-wishers lingering around the house – some waiting for their transport back home, some busy with the cooking and some busy with the cleaning up. We waited for a while to help out but it was clear that all of us needed a proper break. When a bulk of things has been done, we said goodbye and head back home – it was already 4 pm by then. My son was already dozing off in the car and we had a hard time to wake him up. We pushed him to take a shower first and after a quick bite, had him to go straight to the bed (he slept throughout the night, not waking up for dinner and only waking up the next morning).

There was one last thing I had to do – to make good of my offer to drive the newly-weds to Taiping…

Big Boss’ New Boss


The Big Boss finally got his wish come true (and so was ours) and it did not take long for him to be overprotective of the new Boss.

It is going to be very interesting years to come more so after the Big Boss have taken the task of a mentor and have major plans to teach her dancing, gaming and swimming. It is going to be interesting years for us too – no doubt we have the experience now (to know what need and need not to be done) but certainly it will be challenge to repeat the feat especially when my wife will be going back to work in a couple months time after a long break and we have “conveniently” forgotten all those difficult times bringing up the Big Boss in the early years.

But nonetheless it was a good day when the new Boss reported for “duty” last week. The long holidays helped a lot – with fewer cars on the road, it was not a big problem to rush to the hospital and make the follow-up visits during my wife admission to the hospital for a few days after delivery. It was easy to find parking spots on the ground floor too – after all, it was not productive to be on medical leave on  an off-day, right? A couple days after the delivery and after the mother’s and baby’s health have been checked out and bills all fully paid, the new Boss arrived at home with other family members waiting in high anticipation.

Next, we went over to see a priest to check on the names that we use for the new Boss and after getting the initial “starting” names, we just google to see which other “glamour”, short, easy to pronounce (and write) names we can use and then throw the dice to choose the final one. Well, not really – I just took the one I liked the most and stick with it as I got other suggestions from others. In the end, we ended up choosing the one that I picked in the first place.

Choosing the right name for the new Boss is just the first steps in raising the new member of the family and we still have a long way to go and we can’t wait for the challenge. Hopefully it will be a good one and with the Big Boss at our side, we are sure it will be so.

Thunderstorm Heroes


Last Sunday was a tiring day….

(Don’t be an idiot and remain unnoticed to other motorists by not switching on the headlights. Image source: http://carcountrycreditcruncher.wordpress.com)

Saturday was hectic but it was almost a free day on Sunday, so we decided on the next thing to a good workout in a gym – shopping. We had our own reasons – my wife wanting to buy some cheap clothes for work (she intended to “capitalize” on cheap bargains during the on-going Christmas sales), me wanting to buy a bigger ext HDD (I am running out of HDD space fast) and my son, just wanting to go somewhere outside the house.

It was almost 6 hours of shopping & dining before we decided to call it and headed home. We walked a lot – you know how tough it is for the women to be satisfied with the choices available, right? At end of the day, my wife was somewhat happy with her purchase although it took some time for her to finalize the “final 3 T-shirts for work”, myself getting what I wanted (and more) and my son somehow unhappy for walking a lot for the day and not buying any toys at the end of the day (I tried to entertain his request but the chaos at the toys section, with Christmas around the corner, made us think twice of venturing into the place).

We were tired (but not hungry – we had a lot to eat – perhaps due to stress of shopping) and were felt relieved when we finally walked toward the parking lot. I noticed that most of the “in-coming cars” was wet and we could hear thunder in the distant horizon. I somehow knew that it is going to be a very wet journey home. However, it being a Sunday, I did not expect a lot of traffic on the road and expected a smooth ride back home.

It was pouring when we hit the road but it was alright until we reached Puchong IOI Mall area when the traffic was practically not moving. It was crawling – I suspected major accident upfront – after all, it was raining heavily and visibility was quite bad. As we moved up front, we saw the problem. Two of the three lanes of the highway were flooded, forcing all the three lanes to squeeze into a single lane. But once we passed this place, it was back to normal Sunday drive.

(Who is more visible in this photo? Image source: http://www.driveandstayalive.com)

As we were stuck in the traffic jam, we were able to see around us and observe how the other motorists were coping with the unexpected Sunday evening traffic jam in heavy rain and with very poor visibility and with a touch of uncertainty on what is causing this traffic jam. And one of thing that stood up quite “prominently” during the traffic jam is the part where concerned motorists switching on the car headlights so that they can warn others of them and them to others in that low visibility ride.

Interestingly there are 3-4 “dungus” with white / silver colored cars who think since it is still not night, did not opt to switch on the headlights. Perhaps the cheap bastards think that they can prolong the lifeline of their car headlights by switching on only when it absolutely needed. They continued to ride-on in the heavy rain without any lights switched on. There were (as predicted) 1-2 who panicked and switched on their hazard lights but then again, at least those idiots who switch on their hazard lights fared slightly better than those who don’t switch on anything. At least we know where these idiots are flying through in the heavy rain.

Thankfully the traffic was bad, so we did not have any “heroes” who are also speeding in the heavy downpour, low visibility conditions (to make things more “interesting”, throw in an idiot who is driving without any lights at the front). It is amazing on how some people put their fate (and theirs and others life) on their ABS-less, no traction control whatsoever, locally made cheap, tin can cars. It is “ok” if they are not aware of the effect known as aquaplaning but there is no doubt that the road is damn slippery. There is no doubt that when they slam their brakes, it is going to take a longer distance for their vehicles to come to a complete stop. There is no doubt that when this happens, we are going to have serious injuries all over the place.

Well, that is uncivilized Malaysian driver for you – always thinking on their backside when driving on the road.

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Car, Not Bus


Sometimes I wish I could shout “I am not driving a bus lah!”

Bus_full

(This is how some relatives see my car at certain times – Image source: http://welcome.pickuppal.com)

Couple days ago, my car suspensions took a heavy pounding – all because my mom decided to be very generous.

We were planning to go to temple – me, my wife, the “big boss”, of course and my mom. We decided to take my wife’s nimble Viva since it is just nice for the 4 of us (considering the big boss is no longer the small baby that everyone perceives him to be. He needs his space and his MP3s).

At the 11th hour, as I woke up from afternoon slumber to take my shower, I realised one of my aunties had come over to the house – intending to follow us to the temple. We had no idea of having anyone else following us at the last minute and certainly have not informed others. And just when we were about drive out, my Dad got dressed up and was waiting to follow us – it has been some time since he last went to the temple and suddenly decided to join in (after persistently coaxed by the big boss who is very, very close with his grandpa).

When we saw him, we knew that we needed to abandon the idea of taking the Viva (5 adults and 1 kid would be very challenging inside the cramped Viva). I decided to take my car which is bigger (and more powerful than the Viva, he he) – there was no other choice but having 3 heavy adults and 1 kid at the back to create a wreck on my rear suspensions.

Despite having new spring coils, the car just dropped down at the back and as I was driving, I swear I heard the tires grazing the body most of the time. My heart almost died out whenever we pass through a pothole – the rebound action of the spring and the suspension created a loud noise. Despite that we managed to go to the temple and back home in one piece. I was so relieved when everyone got out from the car.

I just hope that there are no more unplanned guests coming up to the house for a last minute ride. Don’t get me wrong – it is not that I do not want to give anyone a lift – in fact, I am more than happy to give someone a lift.

When we were small and we did not have a car at home, we always took relieve that our relatives decided to give us a lift to the whole family – my parents and my siblings. There are times they had to make couple of trips to ensure they got their own family members and ours from A to B and then from B back to A. It was no easy feat those days when no everyone had a car at home.

So, these when relatives asked us for a lift, we are so ever willing but it would be better if we know that they are coming (instead of showing up at the 11th hour). If we know that they are coming, it is easier for us to arrange the transport – perhaps we can arrange for a bigger car (or van as we did in one instance) or getting several cars to go in a convoy and not cramp all in one car. This is not quest to set new world record – the most people in one car – mind you! It is getting from A to B as comfortably and safely as possible.

Giving someone a lift is not the issue but getting to know that I am giving someone a lift at the very last minute is.